What should have been a perfect way to cap off a memorable Commonwealth Games has left many fuming over the decision to not broadcast athletes entering Carrara Stadium during last night’s closing ceremony.
The controversial decision meant that viewers at home were unable to witness gold medallist para-sportsman Kurt Fearnley carry the Australian flag into the venue. Channel Seven hosts Johanna Griggs and Basil Zempilas were equally disappointed with the decision.
“We understand many people have been disappointed by tonight’s closing ceremony and to be perfectly honest Jo, so have we been,” Zempilas said, as reported by ABC News.
“It hasn’t really lived up to expectations and I’ve got to say it’s about the only thing they got wrong, but they did get it wrong tonight.”
“They’re actually wrecking a tradition that is so important and part of the Commonwealth Games,” Griggs added.
“You want to see the athletes come and you want to see them jumping in front of a camera, you want to see them celebrating 11 days of great sport. We missed out on all of that.”
Griggs explained that the network does not control the broadcast and it had been arranged for the athletes to already be in the stadium prior the screening.
“People are thinking that Channel Seven has chosen not to show pictures of athletes or not to show the flag-bearer Kurt Fearnley or other flag-bearers. We can only show the pictures that are provided by the actual host broadcasters,” she said.
Chairman of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Peter Beattie admitted to the mistake, while also noting the speeches as “too many and too long”, with the focus being more on the performers and the entertainment rather than the athletes themselves.
“Did we stuff up? Yes. Should athletes have been part of the actual ceremony that was broadcast? Of course. We got it wrong. I can’t be more honest about it than that,” Beattie said on Sunrise.
“I am not interested in blaming anyone else. We stuffed it up and I apologise to the viewers and the athletes.”
Beattie is also hoping to apologise to flag-bearer Fearnley today.
Many of the athletes left during the ceremony, leaving Carrara Stadium half empty during the event, while viewers took to Twitter voicing their anger on the disappointing end to the Commonwealth Games.
Yeah just watched closing ceremony and sorry someone has got to answer for that. It was apart from that a great games
— Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce) April 15, 2018
— Dan Oliver (@danwaterski) April 15, 2018
— Tim Lindsay (@TimLindsay10) April 15, 2018
#ClosingCeremony Well the Queensland organisers stuffed up the opening and closing ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games. It was self indulgent and egos for a few organisers. Where were the athletes? Not one medal to be seen. Bloody pathetic.
— Dr David Sweet (@DASbboomer) April 15, 2018